“Hispanics and 2015”

It doesn’t take a genius to look at 2015 and see what will improve among Hispanics.

EDUCATION–There will be more Hispanics graduating from high school and entering college in 2015. These are continuing upward trends of the past few years. Lower and middle-income students who desire college will gravitate to community colleges because four year schools demand too much tuition.
Government student loans and grants continue to fuel excessive college tuition inflation that keeps enrollment from increasing naturally, thus there are an unknowable number of young Hispanics who are simply unable to attend college because colleges charge too much, and that includes public colleges.
Of course, Hispanics generally have a good work ethic and it will be normal to find Hispanic students (especially those who are first in their families to attend college) who work two or three part time jobs while they attend the closest public college.
Aside: In my last semester I had three part-time jobs including being a bouncer in a topless GO-GO joint for $1.50-an-hour and all the scotch I wished to drink. I also worked as a college graduate assistant and wrote for the San Diego Navy Times (before computers). From 1960 through 1964 I also was a Marine Reservist and attended monthly drills and spent much of my summers in uniform; the money came in handy, as did free food.
This upward trend of more educated Hispanics is a reflection of growing population numbers among the community based on a higher birth rate especially among those that have immigrated here in recent years. American born Hispanic growth will outnumber immigrants more and more because it appears the immigration has peaked among Hispanics and is leveling off.

IMMIGRATION—While immigration does not normally rank high as an important Hispanic issue, many are concerned because outside the Puerto Rican community almost everyone is an immigrant or descendants of immigrants. Hispanics fought in the American Revolution, so they have been around for a long time.
Immigration, then, affects over 90 percent of Hispanics.
It has been almost 30 years since Congress and President Ronald Reagan delivered immigration reform (IRCA, 1986) that legalized millions and started many on a path to citizenship. IRCA did not solve the illegal immigration problem, however.
The problem left hanging was the demand for workers from south of the border by American employers in three basic areas: Agriculture, the Hospitality industry and construction. IRCA did not include the one simple solution to the problem of workers coming to work illegally. It did not include a “work permit.”
Many have married and brought U.S. citizen children into the community, many have put down roots by buying homes, cars, sending kids to college and doing everything an American does but vote despite being illegally present.
Many in the community were buoyed when the bi-partisan Senate immigration bill passed – ecstatic, actually. House Republicans refused to vote on the bill. So nothing happened.
In November, President Obama rose from his political lame duck deathbed after the smashing GOP midterm victory and announced that he was going to legalize up to 5 million people and to issue them work permits by Executive Action. Hispanics concerned with immigration expressed great joy at Obama’s announcement. Of course, the courts will decide if it is legal, not Obama or supportive Hispanics.
There was talk of cementing the 70 percent of the Hispanic vote Obama received in 2012 into a permanent electoral block like the 90 percent Black vote has become a permanent Democratic fixture. That thesis fell apart in the midterms when Obama’s low popularity affected the Hispanic vote negatively and Republicans won races with Hispanic votes in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.
Congress will now seek ways to end the temporary Obama Executive Action with acts of Congress, albeit in a piecemeal basis. Hispanics can have a say in the process by joining Big Business, the Church, some labor unions, agriculture, the hospitality industry and myriad national Hispanic groups in supporting the GOP in a piecemeal approach which will solve the illegal issue one “rifle shot” at a time.

JOBS – Many Hispanics will be hired into high-pay jobs if the Keystone project is approved. Hispanic groups must push for the project’s approval by circumventing the President with congressional action. They must work with the Republican Congress in organizing and pushing for job proposals that can produce jobs. More jobs, more money for all. Hispanics have to learn to work with the Republican Congress for there is little chance the House will turn Democrat for at least ten or more years.

POLITICS — 2015 is the year Hispanics can progress because at least three Governors (Florida, New Mexico and Nevada) owe Hispanics as do U. S. Senators in North Carolina and Colorado. All are Republicans.
If Hispanics are smart they can capitalize on this new found political status in 2015 and set up a huge effort among Presidential candidates for the Hispanic 2016 Presidential vote.

Contreras formerly wrote for the New America News Service of the New York Times